in reply to YAPC::NA::2003::mandog

YAPC::NA 2003 Trip Report

Overall I would have to say the trip was worth $500 and three days of downtime, due to hearing from a number of interesting presenters and increasing my overall knowledge of perl as a language. It gave me much insight as to how the perl community works as a group. It was certainly a more creative use of the $500 than I would have come up with on my own. On a more selfish note, having a few days out of town was very useful for clearing some annoyances out of my mind.

10 Things I Learned at YAPC::NA 2003

1. The regular expressions tutorial was very beneficial, as it helped for me tohear the material presented. It will help me as I prepare to use this powerfulfeature of perl much more.
2. I learned a lot about how a small subset of perl could be a more powerful replacement for commonly used shell tools (grep, sed, awk). This will be very helpful as I prepare to use perl more than shell scripting in system administration.
3. I learned a lot of useful extreme (agile) programming tips from a programmer who had programmed with the creators of the style (Ward Cunningham and Kent Beck).
4. CGI::Kwiki is a powerful and easy tool, that could help the CSL if there are no really nasty security issues. It also makes a great tool for agile development.
5. An application should respond to the users/maintenance programmers in certain ways when it fails (there is an "honorable" way for something to fail). This requires giving Appropriate Feedback (failing loudly, failing as quickly as possible, and concisely answering user's/maintenance prgrammer's questions).
6. Learned precisely how die, warn, and exit from core perl behave, as well as croak, carp, and confess from the carp module.
7. A lot of information can be crammed into five minute talks.
8. Bricolage is a very nice Content Management System and it uses a lot of tools that we already use (Postgres and perl).
9. Damian Conway can produce nine perl modules and a two-hour presentation in less than one day.
10. It is not really possible to properly apply sunscreen to my own back and shoulders (the only place I really got burned).

What worked well?

1. The material presented and the resources provided at the conference and the hotel were amazing for the price paid. The knowledge gained from this could be beneficial in the future.
2. The quality of the presenters was outstanding, and I heard from some that at $85 YAPC was a better overall experience than the much more expensive The perl Conference.
3. The auction (for people who could afford the items) was a very fun way to raise funds for the foundation that provided for a lot of the speakers at the conference.
4. The YAPC Kwiki turned out to be a better organizing tool than the conference website and the mailing list. Astute attendees were able to correct information on the fly without having to jump through hoops. It was also a lot of fun to put up a personal page on it.

Improvements for next time:

1. Hopefully the registration process could be made a bit more smooth, and the camera won't break so we can all get picture badges.
2. Hopefully Larry Wall won't be stuck in the hospital.
3. The talks could perhaps be placed on a track system (for different levels of perl experience), and a few minutes could be given for moving between talks in different rooms.

Other Benefits:

1. A solitary walk on the beach was a very good way to clear my mind and relax.
2. It was great to meet a bunch of prominent perl and UNIX/Linux developers, and hear some of their life experiences.
3. Sharing the experience of lowering our Ward numbers to 2 (by peering on some code with a person who had peered with Ward Cunningham -- the Extreme Programming guy).